TV Preview: ABC Up Fronts

Logo courtesy of ABC.

Logo courtesy of ABC.

How to Get Away With Murder

Oh my god, I’m enthralled. Now, I’ve always been a big Shonda Rhymes fan, and I think taking the hint from the critical and popular success that Scandal has attracted, she’s fulfilling America’s desire for diverse, badass women with complex storylines on television. Viola Davis is mesmerizing in the clip as an ethically questionable law professor while the four main students are in awe of her talent and strategy. This is a must watch for me.

Cristela

This seems like a heartwarming family sitcom that could pair well with Modern Family and The Middle on Wednesday nights. While ABC knows that it’s not the home of mainstream or niche comedy, it’s trying to be the home of diverse programming featuring more women and ethnic/cultural minorities than ever before. Cristela seems genuinely entertaining, but the clip is not utterly convincing of the show’s unique style or longevity.

Forever

It is Castle meets Vampire Diaries meets Sherlock Holmes meets all the genres. Charming leads, but the show suffers repetition, featuring mostly derivative plot elements.

Manhattan Love Story

This year networks commissioned a crapload of Rom-coms. As far as this one goes, I don’t know yet from the first look what makes these specific characters appealing. I can understand that hearing what’s inside their heads is a new twist on a love story, but without compelling characters, it’s just funny insights on dating without a true center. I think it’s counterpart at NBC, A to Z, is much more successful in what MLS is trying to do.

Blackish

Once again, a multicultural sitcom concept that I think has the potential to be great. The trailer showed much more uniqueness and specificity to what the show will be focusing on than Cristela, and I think this one has a lot of promise. The actors, including the kid talent, are oozing with charisma and that’s important for a successful sitcom.

Selfie

This definitely shows promise, with a great cast including John Cho as the (possibly romantic) lead. With premise from My Fair Lady, the show follows Eliza’s ongoing transformation from a social-media obsessed, seemingly vapid person into a more mature, deeper one. Cho seems like he could really find his first great, notable role on TV if this show takes off, and I love me some John Cho.

American Crime

This crime series investigates the death of a couple’s adult son, and the mysterious circumstances surrounding it. It has an excellent cast, headed by Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman. However, Hutton is poorly used. His reaction to his son’s death screams overacting. In addition, the show seems like more of a miniseries than an ongoing program.

Fresh Off the Boat

This is by far my favorite show on the list. The humor is flawless and edgy, daring to offend and poke fun at assimilation. It’s relatable in a culturally salient way by humorizing parts of assimilation that hasn’t tapped into since My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I say this is the breakout hit of the season.

Galavant

At first, I definitely thought this was a joke. I’m pretty sure I said to my computer, “You’ve got to be shitting me.” Either this is going to majorly fail or resonate deeply in the hearts of Alan Menken devotees (such as yours truly) as a new gem in the ABC-Disney canon. Galavant is literally most types of genre shows popular today wrapped into one. That doesn’t necessitate success by any means, but probably indicates the opposite. I’m thinking cancelled after a season while developing a large cult following is in the cards. 

Secrets and Lies

Ryan Philippe yelling at shit like he’s begging Reese Witherspoon not to leave him. This looks like a copycat of The Killing and a collective of other edgier cable shows reformatted to work on a network. SAL looks more prone to be a one-off season or miniseries, as the greater mythology doesn’t feel like it works as expansion within the framework of the series.

The Whispers

This looks creepy and Lost-esque right off the bat, with an overarching mystery and mythology. Lily Rabe seems ready to step into her own with this show, and I’m ready to watch it. A little reminiscent (alien invasion wise) of a program that was cancelled on NBC called The Event, but I’ll still probably give it a chance. 

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